Kennedy finds form against Cubs

Kennedy finds form against Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- Ian Kennedy looked ready for the regular season on Sunday night.

The Royals right-hander struck out seven and held the Cubs to three hits over six innings in a 6-2 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 15,497 at Sloan Park. Addison Russell led off the Chicago eighth with a home run, his fifth this spring.

"That's midseason stuff right there," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Kennedy. "He had everything going. He had a phenomenal slider tonight, spotted his fastball well, good changeup, excellent location, quick tempo. He was spectacular."

Kennedy induces DP to escape jam

Mike Moustakas hit a solo home run and added a sacrifice fly to back Kennedy, who is coming off an 11-11 season with the Royals.

Kennedy hasn't allowed a run in three Cactus League starts, though he did give up two runs (one earned) in a March 8 game against Team Venezuela. He called the Cubs' lineup the toughest he's faced, next to Venezuela's.

"There's a reason why they're defending champs," Kennedy said. "I just tried to mix as if it's a normal game. No scouting reports, but you go out there and try to compete and mix pitches, give them different looks, mixing and everything. I was happy with that."

Yost, Kennedy on win vs. Cubs

Moustakas gave Kansas City a quick lead with one out in the first when he launched the first pitch he saw from Mike Montgomery to right for his third spring home run. Billy Burns was hit by a pitch with one out in the third, reached third on Raul Mondesi's single and scored on Moustakas' sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.

Montgomery, in contention for the fifth starter spot in the Cubs' rotation, struck out five over three innings. Brett Anderson, also a candidate for the fifth spot, pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief.

The Royals sent nine batters to the plate in a four-run eighth. They loaded the bases with one out against Anderson, and Jim Henderson took over and walked Peter O'Brien to force in a run. One out later, Christian Colon hit a two-run single.

Colon's two-run single

Royals up next: The Royals host the Reds Monday for a 3:05 p.m. CT tilt. New rotation stalwart Jason Hammel climbs the hill for Kansas City in his fourth Cactus League start. He gave up two runs over 5 1/3 innings against the White Sox his last time out, allowing five hits and no walks while striking out five. The matchup will be available live on MLB.TV and on royals.com via an exclusive free audio webcast.

Cubs up next: Kyle Hendricks will make his fourth Cactus League start on Monday when the Cubs travel to Scottsdale to face the Rockies. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. CT. Hendricks, who led the Major Leagues in ERA last season, has given up two runs on seven hits over nine innings while striking out 10. He has not walked a batter. The game will be available live on MLB.TV and on cubs.com via an exclusive free audio webcast.

Watch almost 300 Spring Training games, WBC '17 and every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.